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Beelzebubs past and present sponsor box office at new music center

Working in concert is their specialty, and they've always been a hit at the box office. So the way Tufts Beelzebubs from across the decades chose to support the Granoff Music Center was only natural.

The Beelzebubs Alumni Association joined current members of the celebrated a cappella group in making a $200,000 gift to name the main ticket booth at Tufts' new music building, where from now on, seats will be sold from the Beelzebubs Box Office.

"I think the new music center is beautiful," said the group's current undergraduate president, Matt Michelson, A07. "As someone who really loves music, and is graduating this spring, I am a little jealous! With such a great building, music will become an even more popular and exciting part of life here at Tufts."

Fund-raising discussions got underway among Bubs alumni as soon as plans were announced for a new music center, said Tim Vaill, A64, A01P, Chairman & CEO of the Boston Private Wealth Management Group, and a founding member of the all-male singing group at Tufts.

"Several of us worked on this, including John Saxe, A87; John McCarthy, A68, AG73, A01P; Michael Horwitz, A81, FG82; Jeremy Cramer, A00; Don Delollis, A67, M71; Steve Singer, A76; my son, Sam Vaill, A01; Steve Weller, A93; Will Elias, A87; John Gifford, A90; Bill Stone, A88; Raymond Tang, A72, J01P, A08P; John Barrengos, A86; Steve Hall, A66; John Keogh, A79; Mark Kline, A83; Marty Mahoney, A90; Dave Murman, A97; Chris Parker, A69; Dave Pratt, A84; Neal Robison, A63; Josh Tane, A83; and Eric Valliere, A91," Vaill said. "Everyone deserves equal billing for the success of this project.

"Networking among the Beelzebub alumni is a very natural, on-going affair," Vaill continued. "All the Bub alums - about 260 or so in the 44 years we've been at it - stay in close touch through the Internet, special mailings of the newsletter, The BAAble, and frequent events in person, including activities in Boston, New York, Washington D.C., Los Angeles and San Francisco. There is a very broad measure of interaction, and many of the alums from lots of different years know each other pretty well."

The alumni, who enjoy a close connection with the current undergraduate group, have formed a charitable organization, The Beelzebubs Alumni Association, Inc., as well as an educational foundation, which supports music education and sponsors an a capella teaching program called "Be the Music" in Greater Boston public schools. The guiding principal: "Fun through Song."

Vaill said: "All members of the Bub organization, past and present are, almost by definition, 'over-achievers.' They have to be, given the tough academic schedule at Tufts and the very busy lives of the Beelzebubs during the school year. They prevail in what they do because they are talented, highly energized and optimists.

"With a steady stream of graduates, perhaps five or six a year for more than 40 years, we have created a microcosm of society, in a sense, with simply terrific 'intergenerational contact' - my favorite aspect of the phenomenon.

"It is a very special group of people who strive for musical perfection, think broadly about their role in the community - hence the formation about 10 years ago of The Beelzebub Foundation, which works with local schools on music programs - and deeply care for each other. I can't think of another organization that matches it."

Current president Michelson described the Beelzebubs as "a brotherhood of more than 270 people who will forever feel connected and attached.

"The Beelzebubs have truly defined my Tufts experience," Michelson said. "Some of my closest friends and best experiences have been shared with the Bubs, both here and away from Tufts. Over the past few years we have been to such elaborate places as England, France, Turkey, Greece, and all over the United States. We are bonded by the motto 'Fun through Song,' and when we travel, we try and take that feeling and spread it to those who have never seen what we do.

"We are a fraternity in the literal sense of the word, meaning 'brotherhood,'" Michelson continued. "If I look at Bub alumni who have graduated anywhere from one to 40 years ago, it comes naturally to call each other 'brother.' Never could I have imagined a more fun, meaningful, and special opportunity at college - forget college - for the rest of my life."